“Memory Box”, “Thumbelina”, “Congratulation”, “Сoncerto”, “Capriccio”, “Vera”, “Touches”, “As you like it”, “Commode”, “Uwe’s friends”, “Hommage to Shwankmayer”, “Route”, “Time of Aurora”, “Spinning Top”, “The 1973-rd”, “Babylon 1”, “Face Book”, “Time To Throw Stones”, “Barguzin”, “Waiting”, “Whose Stream”
The Russian artist Alexandra Mitlyanskaya through her videos and multichannel installations studies visual perception, the influence of the time and duration of an installation on the viewer.
The works included in the screening program are all united by the theme of time: in the context of the past and the future, life and death, youth and oldness, and time as an instrument of perception. Mitlyanskaya observes the viewer ̶ she is interested in how the short, but dynamic work can seem intense and extensive, and, on the contrary, how longer in time installation with minimum actions feels absolutely timeless.
In her works, Mitlyanskaya depicts the past differently. For example, in the video "The 1973-rd" (2010), while we are watching the process of ironing Soviet school uniform to the sound of Leonid Brezhnev's speech, we involuntarily turn to the memory of the times of stagnation. And in the work "Memory box" (2018), the emphasis is placed not only on memories of the certain era, but on the thoughts about the time flow, which fascinates you as soon as you begin to analyze it.
Sometimes the artist rhymes the theme of the past with aging, as in the works “Thumbelina” (2000) and “Congratulation” (2003). Each time you light a birthday candle or watch Thumbelina grow up, you realize that a step forward is also a step back – to death, to the past.
Small video sketches "Hommage to Shwankmayer" (2009), "Route" (2016), "Commode" (2014) and "Spinning Top" (2013) also refer us to the temporality ̶ to history, to the tragedies of the past, and also to observing the present.
The compositions of the following works of the program ̶ "Babylon 1" (2010) and "Facebook" (2016–2017) – have something in common: in one we see many cells of the house, and builders busy with their own affairs, in the other – the faces of people looking at their phones – everyone is also busy with their own business. Time in these works for each of the many characters flows in its own way, everyone is in the flow of their own lives, while for the viewer everything exists simultaneously. This relativity, impermanence, and subjectivity of time connect both works.
Very sensual works "Time of Aurora" (2014), "Touches" (2012), "As you like it" (2018) and "Vera" (2008) seem to freeze time and transfer the viewer to a metaphysical space filled with all kinds of sensations. Those are expressed in everything: in the wind flutter, in the sunlight falling on a smiling girl’s face, in the tenderness of a living being.
Ordinary things and everyday phenomena are also the objects of the artist's close observation. Things, which seem boring and routine to us are shown with the classical music in the background in the "Concerto" (2005) and "Capriccio" (2011). In this setup things acquire a completely different character: they seem to breathe new life and new meanings into them.
In the works "Time to Throw Stones" (2014) and "Uwe’s friends" (2013), we also observe the everyday life: someone throws stones, birds fly up to a window. The viewer, being in the position of an observer, is trying to find logic in these absurd situations: who are these people near the stone pile, why are they doing this, is there even a drop of sense in all of this? And who is the owner of the house that the animals come to? Will we see him? Can we understand how he feels in isolation, watching the world only through the window?
The works, created in 2018–2019 show how the artist again and again returns to familiar themes: life, time, how it goes and what fills it. In sunny and languid landscapes, we look at “Barguzin”(2018), as if frozen in time, where nothing happens, and if a car or a boat appears in the frame, then in a minute everything again falls into oblivion, as if nothing happened. “Waiting” (2018) and “Whose Stream” (2018–2019) are in great contrast to each other. In the first video we see a taxi driver, and try to catch the thoughts about life in his gaze, while he is waiting for a passenger, then in the second work we see life itself – children, running water, emotions – who will win this game and who will lose – it's a question of time.